Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner Acre is all about traditional Alabama cuisine with a fresh perspective. Chef David Bancroft sources ingredients from local farmers and purveyors for his regularly changing creative American menu. The restaurant sits on the outskirts of Auburn University, so the team also collaborates with the school’s Meats Laboratory (which researches topics like meat quality and food safety) to source from nearby ranchers. The resulting dishes are contemporary and comforting at the same time, like heirloom tomato salad with sweet corn dressing, pork schnitzel with parsnip purée and coffee-rubbed beef tenderloin with garlic whipped potatoes. Complementing Bancroft’s cuisine is wine director Samantha Welch’s comprehensive list of 450 labels. While the selections are strongest in California and France, there’s truly something for every wine drinker here, from New Zealand values to Australian benchmarks and prized Italian bottles. It’s all served in a space that resembles a charming country home, complete with a front porch and a hearth-style fireplace.